WATCH: Australian Angler Hooks Record-Breaking Bluefin Tuna After 4-Hour Battle

by Craig Garrett

Although Ryan Gazzola didn’t catch the heaviest or longest bluefin tuna, he may have caught one of the oldest. On September 3, a 17-year-old angler from Victoria, Australia, was fishing off the coast of Gunnamatta Beach in southeastern Australia when he hooked into a 298-pound bluefin. After a four-hour fight, he hauled in the fish with the help of his pals. Obviously, the teen was very pleased, according to an article from Outdoor Life.

The tuna, while large, didn’t come close to breaking any size records. The biggest bluefin on record in Australia weighed around 600 pounds, whereas the all-tackle world record for the species is a 1,496-pound fish caught back in 1979. Upon further investigation, the catch still had a claim to fame. It still carried a tag from scientists with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation from 29 years ago. According to 9News, at that time, the fish was just 52 centimeters long or about 1.7 feet.

Bluefin tuna can live up to 30 years old, but on average they survive 15 to 25 years. However, this experienced fish had been alive for far longer than that. Fishing Tasmania and the CSIRO said the tuna was the longest “at liberty” ever recorded in Australia, having lived for more than two decades after being tagged in Australia.

The teen called reeling in the bluefin tuna “remarkable”

Gazzola spoke with 10 News First about the catch. “My first ‘barrel,’ we call them…at this size, to have a tag in it, I was like ‘this is just unbelievable,” Gazzola recalled. Campbell Davies from the CSIRO says that most of the post-tag returns happen in the first three to five years after a fish is labeled. The fact that this bluefin avoided being caught for almost three decades is remarkable.

“Anyone who gets to catch a fish of that size and of that age is a very lucky bloke,” Davies said. “I was very surprised when I heard of the re-capture.” Of course, the CSIRO requested the head of Gazzola’s fish for research. However, he still plans to have the tail mounted and consume the meat. “[That way] I can look at it and think, I can’t believe this actually happened,’ Gazzola said.

Gazzola said he was just trying to focus. “I didn’t want to let this opportunity go.” The teen had been dreaming of this day for some time. ‘This is something that I could only dream of. “Everything that has happened since that day, it’s just getting better and better, it’s just been remarkable.”Gazzola said reeling in the bluefin tuna was just ‘unbelievable’. Catching one that had been tagged is quite a feat. The CSIRO stopped its tagging program in 2005.